Morgan Rogers on target as relegated Blackpool sign off with win at Norwich
Relegated Blackpool ended a disappointing Sky Bet Championship season on a high note as they recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Norwich at Carrow Road.
A well-taken first-half goal from Morgan Rogers proved enough to settle an entertaining encounter between two clubs with nothing but pride to play for.
It was a reward for a spirited showing from the visitors, who signed off on a positive note under caretaker head coach Stephen Dobbie, while for Norwich it was a sad exit for striker Teemu Pukki, who failed to mark his final game for the club with a goal.
It also completed a miserable end to the campaign for the Canaries, who won just one of their final 11 matches and slumped to an 11th home loss of the campaign.
Blackpool went ahead from their first clear chance after 15 minutes.
Josh Bowler did well to spot Rogers’ run behind the home back line and the on-loan Manchester City youngster produced a neat chipped finish to beat Angus Gunn and stun a disgruntled home crowd.
The fact that it was Pukki’s final game for the Canaries had helped lift the atmosphere somewhat and it took an excellent fingertip save from Daniel Grimshaw to deny him a goal three minutes later, after the Finn had latched onto a loose ball in the area.
Norwich continued to press, with Pukki thwarted by a timely block from Curtis Nelson and Grimshaw then diving at full stretch to tip a low drive from City’s player of the season Gabriel Sara around the post.
Blackpool were still a threat however and it needed a fine last-ditch tackle from Andrew Omobamidele to deny Rogers a second before Pukki again took centre stage with a shot on the turn that was deflected just over.
In a lively start to the second period, Gunn made a good stop to deny Bowler after the Tangerines’ midfielder had linked up well with Rogers on the right.
At the other end, first Pukki and then Onel Hernandez sent good efforts agonisingly wide of the target.
Blackpool – playing with commendable spirit for a relegated side – nearly doubled their advantage just past the hour mark when CJ Hamilton burst into the area and let fly with a powerful shot that Gunn did well to parry.
But it was Norwich who were seeing most of the ball and Pukki wasted another chance to sign off with a goal after 77 minutes as he failed to get enough on his touch after meeting Sam McCallum’s inviting low cross at the back post.
It was the 88-goal striker’s final contribution as he was substituted to a huge ovation a couple of minutes later.
Substitute Rob Apter should have settled the contest for Blackpool six minutes from time after catching the hosts on the break, but with other options available he choose to go it alone and was denied by another excellent Gunn stop.